Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forest Fire and Mercury

Wait--I thought the only danger from forest fires was, well, forest fires. Turns out, there's mercury involved. This can't be good for anyone. I wonder what all those fires out in the pine barrens did to us a while back?

Science News –October 17, 2007
Mercury from U.S. wildfires
U.S. forest fires emit nearly as much atmospheric mercury as industrial sources.
In the past decade, scientists have become increasingly aware of a previously overlooked source of atmospheric mercury—fires. When fires sweep through forests or any other kind of vegetation, they release mercury that was taken out of the air by plants and deposited in leaf litter and soil. Now, a new study published in ES&T (DOI: 10.1021/es071289o)suggests that agricultural and forest fires together are responsible for nearly one-third of the atmospheric mercury in the U.S.

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